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10 Remarkable Women Who Shaped U.S. Business History

A tribute to the mothers of American business

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Jane Addams


Jane Addams is best-known for her philanthropic efforts and social activism, which earned her (along with Nicholas Murray Butler) a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. But it takes more than kindness and good will to create a legacy like that of Jane Addams. The humanitarian channeled business acumen, statistical knowledge, fundraising skills and a healthy dose of tenacity to co-found and manage Hull House, the first settlement house in the U.S.

Hull House began as an educational and cultural community for immigrant women. The facility was staffed with volunteers who taught women and children free classes in literature, sewing, art, music, history, botany and other subjects.

Within just two years of its opening, Hull House expanded, building a campus to include a summer camp, kindergarten classes, an art gallery and studio, two public kitchens, a coffee house, a book bindery, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, a cooperative boarding school for girls, a music school, a drama group, a circulating library, a labor museum and an employment bureau.

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